The History of Young Chang Pianos
The three Young Chang brothers, Jai-Young Kim, Jai-Chang Kim, and Jai-Chang Kim founded Young Chang Co. Ltd in 1956. When they began piano production they were already experienced in the piano industry. They embraced the challenge of entering the piano market relatively ‘late’ in the game.
The company grew rapidly and became the largest maker of pianos in the world. The goal of the company was to create a quality piano in the most efficient way, keeping their piano’s price points reasonable, thus making the instrument accessible to as many piano enthusiasts and musicians as possible. These pianos are known for their solid build and quality tone.
The Young Chang Brands
Young Chang built pianos have and continue to be marketed under a variety of different brand names. This has included Albert Weber, Weber, Pramberger, Bergman as well as Young Chang. The company used to manufacture pianos for Yamaha’s Korean distribution and the Essex line of introductory level budget pianos for Steinway & Sons. [Steinway later switched to Pearl River in China to keep costs as low as possible.] They currently produce the Fridolin line of budget pianos for German-based Schimmel. During the company’s peak, they were one of the most prolific producers of ‘stencil pianos’ in the world.
The former head of manufacturing for Steinway, Joseph Pramberger joined Young Chang in 1995. An experienced piano designer, Pramberger brought a number of innovations and quality improvements to the Korean company. This included the ‘Platinum Touch Action’, as well as a patented asymmetrically tapered soundboard. The Pramberger Platinum series of pianos was introduced in 2001. This line of pianos was the premiere series from Young Chang for three years. Pianos built under this name incorporated respected German Renner action parts. Pramberger passed away in 2003 and the estate sold his name to Young Chang’s fellow Korean competitor, Samick, however, the former company retained his various innovations. Recently the company has worked with American piano designer Delwin D. Fandrich to design a completely new series of instruments.
1990 – Present | Future of Young Chang
In 1990, Young Chang purchased Kurzweil Music Systems, a high-end electronic and digital instruments manufacturer. In 1995 Young Chang constructed a 750,000 square foot factory in Tianjin, China. This was due to rising production costs in Korea and also allowed the company to supply the growing Chinese piano market more easily. Today, the vast majority of production of Young Chang instruments is completed in China.
In 2006 the Hyundai Development Group purchased Young Chang and the various names owned by the company. In 2010 pianos newly designed by Delwin Fandrich began production and were introduced into the United States market. The company consolidated their lines and Albert Weber, Weber and Young Chang are the brands currently in production. These brands offer a wide selection of both grand and upright pianos with the premium Albert Weber line receiving the best parts and the most care and attention. ‘AW’ pianos are still hand-built in the South Korean factory.
Young Chang Today | Worldwide Reach
Today, Young Chang pianos are distributed worldwide and they control 50% of the domestic Korean piano market. The company continues to employ over 2,000 employees at their various facilities. Efficient workmanship combined with sophisticated manufacturing equipment allows the company to output high numbers of pianos at affordable prices. Quality control has improved over their many years in business with some agreeing that it now rivals piano factories in neighboring Japan. Hyundai upon purchasing Young Chang completed upgrades at both the Korean and Chinese factories. For more than five decades, the company has won critical praise and awards for quality within the industry, and they plan to continue the tradition. We have found that these pianos are well suited to beginning pianists and offer good overall quality at a reasonable price. If you are considering a Young Chang piano, we do recommend the consideration of a new Japanese Kawai-built grand, upright or digital piano.
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